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Pittsburgh Steelers’ Minkah Fitzpatrick opens season with pick-six of Joe Burrow

Vincent Frank
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to be relying on Minkah Fitzpatrick and their defense a lot more this season than in the past. That’s especially true with a journeyman Mitchell Trubisky under center.

If what we saw to open the 2022 season Sunday against the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals is any indication, Pittsburgh might just be alright.

The All-Pro safety picked off Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow on the second play of the game, returning it 31 yards for a touchdown.

Fitzpatrick read Burrow’s eyes perfectly and made a great play on a ball intended for Tyler Boyd. This is the game-changing type of play Pittsbugh will need from its defense as the offense gets its footing in the first post-Ben Roethlisberger season.

Related: Minkah Fitzpatrick and the top 100 NFL players of 2022

Minkah Fitzpatrick as a catalyst for the Pittsburgh Steelers

minkah fitzpatrick
Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a reason why Pittsburgh signed Fitzpatrick to an historic four-year, $73.61 million extension during the offseason. A first-round pick of the Miami Dolphins back in 2018 out of Alabama, Fitzpatrick has been among the best safeties in the NFL since he was acquired by Pittburgh midway through the 2019 season.

Fitzpatrick has earned All-Pro honors in his two full seasons with the Steelers, registering a combined six interceptions in the process.

Despite Fitzpatrick’s stellar play, Pittsburgh’s defense took a step back last season It ranked 20th in the league in points allowed after finishing the 2020 campaign third.

The hope here is that Fitzpatrick’s game-opening interception will be a prelude of things to come for the Steelers in 2022.